Coquihalla Highway reopens after avalanche control
B.C. government initiated major avalanche control measures Friday after unprecedented storm
The Coquihalla Highway reopened just before 10 a.m. PT Saturday after being closed Friday for avalanche control measures.
On Thursday, a Class 4 avalanche buried a section of the highway at the Great Bear Snowshed, and approximately 100 vehicles had to be helped off the highway.
A Class 4 avalanche is "highly destructive and could destroy a rail car and bury a house," according to the Canadian Avalanche Centre.
On Friday, helicopter crews dropped bags of explosives on steep slopes to dislodge additional snow that was sitting precariously above avalanche zones.
"An assessment this morning by avalanche technicians determined that the avalanche control activities carried out yesterday were successful," said B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure in a written statement late Saturday morning.
The Coquihalla corridor has seen over three metres of new snow over the last 11 days.
B.C.'s transportation ministry said the recent storm cycle "created avalanche conditions not seen in the 27 year-history of the Coquihalla Highway."
Special avalanche warning issued
The Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a special avalanche alert for this weekend and into next week warning of a very high continuing avalanche risk in most of the mountain ranges in B.C. and Alberta.
Canadian Avalanche Centre manager Karl Klassen said a prolonged drought has left the surface of the snowpack in very bad shape.